Asbestos-laden building materials slipping into Australia as result of weak regulation, report finds

The whole asbestos scare is conventionally correct but is utter nonsense.  There has NEVER been any proof of harm from asbestos in building and other products.  The only people harmed by asbestos were those involved in mining, fabricating and installing it.  There has never been any harm to the general public from products in their environment that incorporate asbestos.  I spent a significant part of my childhood living in a house lined with unpainted asbestos sheeting ("Fibro"), as did countless other Australians.  It was once a very fashionable building material.  And none of us came to any harm from it.  Asbestos is one of the many things that are harmful only if you are exposed to large amounts of it

Glaring weaknesses in regulations and border protection issues are allowing building products contaminated with potentially deadly asbestos into Australia, a Senate committee has warned.

In an interim report tabled late on Wednesday, the committee raised particular concern about "the ability of Australia's enforcement agencies to effectively police borders so that [contaminated products] are detected and prevented from entering Australia".

"At the moment, this area of enforcement appears to require substantial strengthening and should be a high priority for government," it read.

"The importation of banned materials, such as asbestos, raises very serious concerns about the capacity of Australian authorities to deal with this issue, particularly in light of our open and dynamic trade environment."

The report notes only two importers have been fined over asbestos-laced building material since tougher penalties were imposed in February 2014.

It said fines of up to $170,000 could be imposed, but only $64,000 in fines, penalties and costs had been issued since 2009.

The committee said the role of foreign governments in stopping contaminated products from leaving their shores should also be considered.

It has requested the inquiry be extended for a fourth time, to September 30, 2016, "due to the seriousness of the problem and the disjointed regulation of the use of building products, both manufactured in Australia and overseas".


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